First class midshipmen Nikki Funkhauser and J.D. Kameen model the new track suit that will be fielded to the Navy at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Virginia, on Thursday, September 11, 2014. (Mike Morones/Staff)
In the latest fitness push, the Navy has decided to get serious about its workout gear.
The its push for greater fitness, the Navy will issue a its new fitness suit by late end of 2016, as it opens a CAC-accessed 24/7 -hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week gym on every Navy base worldwide.
Instead of reinventing the wheel, Navy officials decided to adopt the moisture-wicking warmup suit worn by Marinessoldiers, but in blue and gold. The fitness suit will be an issued item in the sea bag and sea bag requirement, so sailors will see a corresponding boost in their clothing allowance, officials said.
Navy officials have spent years testing high-performance outerwear to go with the blue and gold PT uniform for fitness, and they have chosen to adopt the Marine version — also worn at the Naval Academy.
The fitness suit will be issued at Recruit Training Command. Fleet sailors will buy theirs from the Navy Exchange Uniform Center. Exact time of availability at each location will be refined in coming monthsover the summer. It is expected that Sailors will likely be allowed to wear the jacket or pants with civilian clothes.
The exact cost will not be known until the contract is awarded, but is expected to come in around $100. The Corps' running suit costs $113, while the Air Force's version is $99.61.
While the Marine suit is decorated with highly visible reflective tape, the Army's fitness uniform eliminated reflective elements to save $3 per copy and keep soldiers out of sight when exercising in war zones. When needed, soldiers wear reflective belts. Driven by input from roughly 170,000 soldiers, the suit includes female sizing, half elastic leg bottoms, underarm vents and a drawstring that replaces the elastic waistband.was replaced with a drawstring.
The forthcoming Navy fitness suit — which hasn't been wear-tested by sailors, as there is no prototype — is likely to resemble the academy suit in color and design. The "USNA" reflective tape on the upper back will either be altered or removed entirely.
Oh, and one more thing: this isn't a running suit, a wind suit or a jogging suit. Officials are calling it a fitness suit, to be worn on those brisk spring and fall training days when the T-shirt isn't enough and a sweatshirt is overkill.
As the Navy continues its push for gender neutral uniform stylingcommon uniforms, more than 200 female midshipmen, chiefs and officers will don new service dress whites this month in a series of wear tests slated to last through the summer. The uniform prototypes have the same high collar common to the male uniform, but lack chest pockets. The and buttons are smaller yet proportional.
Female chiefs and officers have worn a suit-style version of the SDW, with a black neckerchief and a white jacket with lapels worn over a white shirt.
"Uniformity is about ending the way we segregate women by requiring them to wear different clothes," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in his speech at Annapolis. He illustrated the point with a picture that contrasted two service academies — the Naval Academy, which had noticeably different uniforms for men and women, and West Point, where uniforms are … well, uniform.
"As you look at the Brigade of Midshipmen, you see male and female mids. As you look at the Corps of Cadets you see just that, a corps," Mabus said. "In fact, for almost a decade, the only way West Point was able to do better than us on the football field was by presenting a unified front. We fixed that and now we are truly undefeated."
His goal is a collection of uniforms that "don't divide us as male or female, but rather unite us as Sailors or Marines."
Similarly, work is underway to jettison other female-specific uniform styles. A Final design of a new female service dress blue jumper of the same style as that worn by male sailors is expected later this year and should become available for purchase in early 2016 (along with an improved version of the male uniform eight years in the making).
Dress whites will return in fiscal 2017. A female version of the Dixie cup has not been a big hit with many wear testers, who have complained about make-up stains and poor fit when hair is worn in a bun. But a prototype female combination cover that closely resembles the male cover has been favorably received been a big hit, and fleet introduction is expected next year.
While uniformity is the goal, there are no plans to eliminate the female overblouse or restrict the wear of skirts and the many other female-specific garments or accessories, officials said.